I would like to be able to do handsprings and flips. I have been spending one afternoon a week practicing cartwheels, handstands, backbends, and walkovers. Though I'm getting used to the movements, I'm not actually getting better.

Is there an exercise and stretching regimen that would help condition my body and accelerate my improvement at flipping/ tricking?

I'm a 25 year old woman with 23% body fat. I do cardio kickboxing 3 times a week and an occasional 3 mile run. Otherwise, I currently only do bodyweight resistance exercises.

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    The best exercise regime that I can recommend for tricking is callisthenics. Most traceurs also train calisthenics due to its emphasise on high strength to weight ratio and body mobility, which is exactly what you should be aiming for. – Tarius Jul 24 '15 at 16:15
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    Also for learning flips try researching different progressions in order to overcome fear and increase spatial awareness. Take the back-flip for example: handstand & bridge to macaco to back-handspring to back-flip. – Tarius Jul 24 '15 at 16:18

The best way to learn is by doing. Of course, the risk with flips is that a) if you don't do them right, it's possible to severely injure yourself and b) doing them repeatedly is risky, because eventually, you will get tired and it makes the odds of doing the flip wrong more risky. You can reduce the incidence of the first case by practicing the flips in a safer place such as on a trampoline, in a gymnastics facility, into a pool, with a spotter, etc. This is not a guarantee of safety but it does reduce risk. As for the latter, the key is to practice up until you start to feel exhausted and then stopping until you feel better.

There are techniques that you can do before actually trying the flip, whether to strengthen yourself or to overcome fear. For the former, recommendations include practicing leaping as high as possible and noting the apex of your jump and practicing jump tucks (jumping and tucking without flipping). For the latter, the video I linked has some suggestions involving things like practicing neckbridges to overcome the fear that landing on your upper back will kill you and practicing jumping and landing on all fours (on soft ground) to assure yourself that you can catch yourself midfall. As always, your best bet involves experienced people helping you learn.

There are similar exercises for handsprings. I know that, on the back handspring, the tumbling class I attended used a large foam cylinder over which we did a back-bend fairly slowly and evenly, also propping our legs up to make the kickover easier.

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I have no strength or stretching exercises for this purpose, but I do see this:

I have been spending one afternoon a week practicing cartwheels, handstands, backbends, and walkovers.

Gymnastics skills benefit from frequent practice. Even a quick few minutes of practice every day could make a huge difference versus once a week.

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